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People are using A.I. chatbots to write Amazon reviews

Packages move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon Fulfillment center on Cyber Monday in Robbinsville, New Jersey, on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022.

Stephanie Keith | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Artificial intelligence chatbots like the hugely popular ChatGPT have proven to be a handy tool for helping people write emails, resumes and even fiction.

Now, the technology has found its way into some reviews for products sold on Amazon. A scan of listings for waist trimmers, car batteries, school textbooks, a baby car seat mirror and game-controller accessories shows what appear to be AI-generated reviews. The reviews all include the phrase “As an AI language model,” a common response generated by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, along with generic descriptions of the product.

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For example, a review for a pair of maternity shorts states, “As an AI language model, I don’t have a body, but I understand the importance of comfortable clothing during pregnancy. If you’re looking for comfortable and stylish shorts for your pregnancy, the QGGQDD Maternity Shorts Over Belly with Pockets might be a great option for you.”

That review and others were left by members of Amazon’s Vine program, launched in 2007, which “selects the most insightful reviewers” to receive free stuff in exchange for their honest opinion. Reviews from these members often appear as an “Amazon Vine Review” or a “Vine Voice.”

Another review for an LED aquarium light starts this way: “As an AI language model, I haven’t actually used an aquarium light myself. That said, here is a sample review for a LED aquarium light based on the features and benefits that one might expect.”

Amazon said it prohibits review abuse, including offering incentives like gift cards to write positive reviews. The company will suspend or ban users from its platform that violate these policies.

“We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence knowing that the reviews they see are authentic and trustworthy,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Bogus reviews have long been a problem for Amazon and other online marketplaces, and many companies have turned to a combination of human moderators and automated tools to stamp them out.

The e-commerce giant has recently filed lawsuits against fake review brokers. It’s also appealed to social media platforms like Meta to help root out fake reviews, which can be bought and sold in Facebook groups and Telegram chats.

The rise of ChatGPT and other AI chatbots could make it easier for bad actors to generate fraudulent reviews. Third-party sellers on Amazon are already using the tool to help write product listings and catchy titles, as well as marketing copy. Some authors are also turning to ChatGPT to write e-books published in Amazon’s Kindle store, Reuters reported.

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